Chang-rae Lee Kindle ePUB / Pdf The Surrendered

SUMMARY The Surrendered

How love and war inalterably change the lives of those they touch June Han was only a girl when the Korean War left her orphaned; Hector Brennan was a young GI who fled the petty tragedies of his small town to serve his country When the war ended their lives collided at a Korean orphanage where they vied for the attentions of Sylvie Tanner the beautiful yet deeply damaged missionary wife whose elusive love seemed to transform everything Thirty years later and on the other side of the world June and Hector are reunited in a plot that will force them to come to terms with the mysterious secrets of their. What happens to life after you survive the atrocities and randomness of war Chang rae Lee examines the deep intricacies of this uestion and its ramifications in THE SURRENDURED portraying three survivors Korean War China Japan War whose lives mesh at an orphanage somewhere in South Korea after liberation From that common crossroad the lives of Sylvie a missionary wife Hector a GI and June a Korean orphan are forever intertwined shadowed by pervasive doom pitted against the human need to endure Lee s strength has always been with his exceptional prose the constantly surprising and original use he puts to words and a sheer magnificence in the way those mere words rise up to deliver stunning revelations of simple truths in what makes us human This book is rich in that tradition I have tagged than one hundred sections that moved me to wonderment It s also probably the most physical and sensory book I have ever read especially redolent in smells There s a lot of sex and vivid description of sensation and Lee s intense focus on physicality in itself seems to reflect the characters bodily will to continue life even as their hearts are blackened by tragedy It is an intense and absorbing read frightening for what we do to ourselves and how despite all the darkness and violence we create in the name of war some continue to persist in a semblance of life and helplessly pass along the damage of war to those they touch as they reach out with a last shred of hopefulness Is it all in vain That s the uestion Lee poses in this masterpiece of writing The Illusionists uestion and its ramifications in THE SURRENDURED portraying three survivors Korean War China Japan War whose lives mesh at an orphanage somewhere in South Korea after liberation From that common crossroad the lives of Sylvie a missionary wife Hector a GI and June a Korean orphan are forever intertwined shadowed by pervasive doom pitted against the human need to endure Lee s strength has always been with his exceptional prose the constantly surprising and original Planet of the Bugs use he puts to words and a sheer magnificence in the way those mere words rise Fishes of the Open Ocean up to deliver stunning revelations of simple truths in what makes Out of Bounds (Boundaries, us human This book is rich in that tradition I have tagged than one hundred sections that moved me to wonderment It s also probably the most physical and sensory book I have ever read especially redolent in smells There s a lot of sex and vivid description of sensation and Lee s intense focus on physicality in itself seems to reflect the characters bodily will to continue life even as their hearts are blackened by tragedy It is an intense and absorbing read frightening for what we do to ourselves and how despite all the darkness and violence we create in the name of war some continue to persist in a semblance of life and helplessly pass along the damage of war to those they touch as they reach out with a last shred of hopefulness Is it all in vain That s the Grass, Sky, Song uestion Lee poses in this masterpiece of writing

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The Surrendered

Past and the shocking acts of love and violence that bind them together As Lee unfurls the stunning story of June Hector and Sylvie he weaves a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice the power of love and the possibilities for mercy salvation and surrendering oneself to another Combining the complex themes of identity and belonging of Native Speaker and A Gesture Life with the broad range energy and pure storytelling gifts of Aloft Chang rae Lee has delivered his most ambitious exciting and unforgettable work yet It is a mesmerizing novel elegantly suspenseful and deeply affecting. This being a book of historical fiction I thought I would get a little history than I did There is very little in this book about either the Korean War 1950 1953 or the Japanese takeover of Manchuria in the 1930s The main focus is the relationship between the missionary Ames Tanner his wife Sylvie Tanner an American GI Hector Brennanand an orphan June Hanset at a Korean orphanage in the aftermath of the Korean War There is another thread set in 1980s when June now elderly and dying searches for her son in Italy Although this may all sound confusing it is not hard to follow but that doesn t make it goodI felt no empathy for any of the characters I learned little history and the book totally lacks humor It is all about some weird relationships In a good author s hands weird relationships may become tantalizing but not here Perhaps I am being overly critical There is a message history sets a stamp upon the lives of those who live through it I do admit it is hard to follow a book as excellent as To the End of the Land which both taught history and magnificently rendered a triangle love relationshipThe author Chang rae Lee never brought the characters even within arms lengths Always they remained at a distance and for this reason I have only given The Surrendered two stars Not terrible but just OK Encounters with Rauschenberg unfurls the stunning story of June Hector and Sylvie he weaves a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice the power of love and the possibilities for mercy salvation and surrendering oneself to another Combining the complex themes of identity and belonging of Native Speaker and A Gesture Life with the broad range energy and pure storytelling gifts of Aloft Chang rae Lee has delivered his most ambitious exciting and Doctors, Ambassadors, Secretaries unforgettable work yet It is a mesmerizing novel elegantly suspenseful and deeply affecting. This being a book of historical fiction I thought I would get a little history than I did There is very little in this book about either the Korean War 1950 1953 or the Japanese takeover of Manchuria in the 1930s The main focus is the relationship between the missionary Ames Tanner his wife Sylvie Tanner an American GI Hector Brennanand an orphan June Hanset at a Korean orphanage in the aftermath of the Korean War There is another thread set in 1980s when June now elderly and dying searches for her son in Italy Although this may all sound confusing it is not hard to follow but that doesn t make it goodI felt no empathy for any of the characters I learned little history and the book totally lacks humor It is all about some weird relationships In a good author s hands weird relationships may become tantalizing but not here Perhaps I am being overly critical There is a message history sets a stamp Engendering Song upon the lives of those who live through it I do admit it is hard to follow a book as excellent as To the End of the Land which both taught history and magnificently rendered a triangle love relationshipThe author Chang rae Lee never brought the characters even within arms lengths Always they remained at a distance and for this reason I have only given The Surrendered two stars Not terrible but just OK

Chang-rae Lee ò 0 REVIEW

A stunning story about how love and war inalterably change the lives of those they touch The Surrendered is elegant suspenseful and unforgettable a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice the power of love and the possibilities for mercy and salvationWith his three critically acclaimed novels Chang rae Lee has established himself as one of the most talented writers of contemporary literary fiction Now with The Surrendered Lee has created a book that amplifies everything we've seen in his previous works and reads like nothing else It is a brilliant haunting heartbreaking story about. I don t think I ve ever tried harder to like a book than I did Chang rae Lee s latest The Surrendered But I think a book should pull us in to its world make us want no need to know what happens to its characters We shouldn t have to try to like it The Surrendered is a departure for Lee It is perhaps his most ambitious novel to date and for this I applaud him His previous three novels were all written in the first person and revolved around a rather displaced male who was trying to figure out just where he belonged in the world The Surrendered by contrast belongs not to one person but to three One is June Han Singer a Korean war orphan who in the book s present of 1986 is a widow who runs a successful New York antiues business is somewhat estranged from her only child a grown son Nicholas and who at the young age of forty seven is dying from stomach cancerThe second protagonist of The Surrendered is Hector Brennan a former GI who served in the Korean War and after his discharge worked at the orphanage where June grew up The third story belongs to a woman who in 1986 is long dead thirty years Sylvie Tanner Sylvie and her husband Ames were the missionaries who ran the orphanage that housed June and employed Hector Each character June Hector and Sylvie is fighting his or her personal demons that threaten to destroy not only them but those around them as wellAs Lee sets up his book and intertwines the stories of the three protagonists the action of The Surrendered moves back and forth in time from 1930s Manchuria to 1950s Korea to New York City and Italy in 1986 At no time did I feel disoriented or lost during the transitions in time In fact they were very smooth however despite this the book still had a very static feel for me I really didn t get any sense of the passing of time at allThe book begins in 1950 with the eleven year old June and her family fleeing North Korea for the south and Pusan I must say I found the opening chapter almost hypnotic and Lee did an excellent job of pulling me into the book However after giving us an introduction to June he leaves her behind to fill us in on the beginnings of the backstories of both Hector and Sylvie This went on for so long that by the time we d returned to June I d almost forgotten about her and almost didn t careThe three main characters stories first overlap and intertwine in 1953 in that countryside orphanage which wasn t too far from Seoul It s there that the three form a deadly triad of sorts with the beautiful elusive and very damaged Sylvie at its center as both Hector and June who see each other as mortal enemies vie for Sylvie s love and attention And in one of the book s best drawn scenes we learn that in their own ways both Hector and June were responsible for Sylvie s tragic and all too early demiseWhile I found Sylvie Tanner to be a beautifully drawn if not wholly likable character filled with both darkness and light tortured by demons yet still able at times to enjoy life and those around her I found both Hector and June to be terribly underdeveloped Hector is outwardly very handsome a man with movie star good looks someone who seems impervious to both physical pain and injury However in most every other way he s a loser He fails at everything he attempts if another person is involved And he does nothing at all to try to remedy this sorry state of affairs He just accepts this as his fate Then there s June I don t want to try to second guess Lee but it seemed in June he wanted to create a woman who couldn t survive unless she built a strong shell about her and in building that strong shell Lee created a character that is just plain mean I kept wanting and waiting for each of the three main characters to show us a redeeming uality however as soon as one of them usually Sylvie would display even slightly redeeming ualities he or she would just revert to his or her old self once again June in particular In the end June wasn t strong she as weak She was too weak to allow herself to be vulnerable to others too weak to really love too weak to live and I don t mean just in the physical sense The secondary characters among them Benjamin Li Ames Tanner and Dora suffer from being very sketchily drawn little than ciphers Dora had such terrific potential but it seemed as if Lee couldn t decided whether to make her the town floozy or a sweet but frustrated hausfrau June s son Nicholas in particular is little than a plot device a straw character and the so called twist involving him is insulting to the reader s intelligence and emotions I can forgive Lee his problems with third person multiple POV It can be very difficult for some writers to handle but I can t forgive him for what he did with Nicholas Lee wasn t playing fair with the reader regarding that one And it isn t like we couldn t see it coming The foreshadowing regarding Nicholas fate was so heavy handed it was like Lee was hitting the reader over the head with the book saying Pay attention now We re foreshadowing over here We get it Mr Lee and subtlety is a virtueFor most of its 400 plus pages The Surrendered is anything but subtle In fact it s operatic in its use of over the top melodrama This is a book so filled with tragedy that it puts Madame Butterfly to shame Some of these things I think will be acceptable to sensitive and sophisticated readers while others will not For the most part however The Surrendered is overwritten and terribly overwrought The Surrendered isn t really a war story but because much of it takes place during times of brutal warfare there is violence aplenty in the book murder rape mutilation torture starvation and Lee does an excellent job in portraying these events and strangely these scenes are the ones that are if anything underplayed not overwritten and melodramatic If only Lee could have exercised the same restraint in portraying his characters emotional livesI liked the darkness the bleakness in The Surrendered I liked the fact that the major characters were all damaged people even if I didn t like the fact that Lee doesn t develop them uite as much as he should have What really turned me off the book are its deficiencies in craft and The Surrendered contains many deficiencies in craft There are the underdeveloped characters whose motivations are many times at best murky There s the straw man role of Nicholas one of the book s biggest failings there is an abundance of coincidence and contrivance and there s a scene with a passport at Immigration in Leonardo da Vinci airport in Rome that is completely unbelievable I think some readers are going to ignore these deficiencies in craft however and allow themselves to be swept away in the melodrama of the characters lives instead So is that good or bad I don t know I can only answer for myself I found it impossible to empathize with or connect with any of the characters in the book Their hearts were too closed to life to love to humanity Maybe this is the effect Lee wanted to achieve If it is I respect it but it simply didn t work for me The Surrendered definitely has power especially that final page And I think there s a wonderful story in this book just clamoring to be told but somehow probably through the uncomfortable use of the third person multiple POV at least for Lee Lee let it the story get away from him I realize Lee was aiming high and I certainly commend him for that And I don t want to sell Lee short He s an excellent writer Perhaps in time maybe with his next book he ll be comfortable with third person multiple POV But in this book the overall effect was melodramatic and messyAnd while this might not bother some readers there was way way too much fornication and adultery in this book for me It was tolerable until Ames Tanner pulled Sylvie who he d not yet married out of the bathtub From then on I d had enough The rest was surfeit and really added nothing to the storyI did try very very hard to like The Surrendered and I felt bad when I couldn t Really Truly I did Will I read Lee s next book Probably yes I will Will I like it That remains to be seen255Recommended Yes with the caveat that the book isn t perfect I m recommending it because when it s good it s very very good and as I said despite being overwritten the book does have power Had Lee written the leaner story that was begging to be told this book would have been a masterpiece A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, unforgettable a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice the power of love and the possibilities for mercy and salvationWith his three critically acclaimed novels Chang rae Lee has established himself as one of the most talented writers of contemporary literary fiction Now with The Surrendered Lee has created a book that amplifies everything we've seen in his previous works and reads like nothing else It is a brilliant haunting heartbreaking story about. I don t think I ve ever tried harder to like a book than I did Chang rae Lee s latest The Surrendered But I think a book should pull Just Wars and Moral Victories us in to its world make Two Paradigms for Divine Healing us want no need to know what happens to its characters We shouldn t have to try to like it The Surrendered is a departure for Lee It is perhaps his most ambitious novel to date and for this I applaud him His previous three novels were all written in the first person and revolved around a rather displaced male who was trying to figure out just where he belonged in the world The Surrendered by contrast belongs not to one person but to three One is June Han Singer a Korean war orphan who in the book s present of 1986 is a widow who runs a successful New York antiues business is somewhat estranged from her only child a grown son Nicholas and who at the young age of forty seven is dying from stomach cancerThe second protagonist of The Surrendered is Hector Brennan a former GI who served in the Korean War and after his discharge worked at the orphanage where June grew Kenget e Milosaos up The third story belongs to a woman who in 1986 is long dead thirty years Sylvie Tanner Sylvie and her husband Ames were the missionaries who ran the orphanage that housed June and employed Hector Each character June Hector and Sylvie is fighting his or her personal demons that threaten to destroy not only them but those around them as wellAs Lee sets Early Chinese Religion, Part Two (220-589 Ad) up his book and intertwines the stories of the three protagonists the action of The Surrendered moves back and forth in time from 1930s Manchuria to 1950s Korea to New York City and Italy in 1986 At no time did I feel disoriented or lost during the transitions in time In fact they were very smooth however despite this the book still had a very static feel for me I really didn t get any sense of the passing of time at allThe book begins in 1950 with the eleven year old June and her family fleeing North Korea for the south and Pusan I must say I found the opening chapter almost hypnotic and Lee did an excellent job of pulling me into the book However after giving At Europes Borders us an introduction to June he leaves her behind to fill We are the Ship us in on the beginnings of the backstories of both Hector and Sylvie This went on for so long that by the time we d returned to June I d almost forgotten about her and almost didn t careThe three main characters stories first overlap and intertwine in 1953 in that countryside orphanage which wasn t too far from Seoul It s there that the three form a deadly triad of sorts with the beautiful elusive and very damaged Sylvie at its center as both Hector and June who see each other as mortal enemies vie for Sylvie s love and attention And in one of the book s best drawn scenes we learn that in their own ways both Hector and June were responsible for Sylvie s tragic and all too early demiseWhile I found Sylvie Tanner to be a beautifully drawn if not wholly likable character filled with both darkness and light tortured by demons yet still able at times to enjoy life and those around her I found both Hector and June to be terribly Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang underdeveloped Hector is outwardly very handsome a man with movie star good looks someone who seems impervious to both physical pain and injury However in most every other way he s a loser He fails at everything he attempts if another person is involved And he does nothing at all to try to remedy this sorry state of affairs He just accepts this as his fate Then there s June I don t want to try to second guess Lee but it seemed in June he wanted to create a woman who couldn t survive Studies on Steinschneider unless she built a strong shell about her and in building that strong shell Lee created a character that is just plain mean I kept wanting and waiting for each of the three main characters to show Fantasies of Cross-Dressing us a redeeming Commanders Little Surprise uality however as soon as one of them The Holy Roman Empire, 1495-1806 usually Sylvie would display even slightly redeeming Come Hell or High Water ualities he or she would just revert to his or her old self once again June in particular In the end June wasn t strong she as weak She was too weak to allow herself to be vulnerable to others too weak to really love too weak to live and I don t mean just in the physical sense The secondary characters among them Benjamin Li Ames Tanner and Dora suffer from being very sketchily drawn little than ciphers Dora had such terrific potential but it seemed as if Lee couldn t decided whether to make her the town floozy or a sweet but frustrated hausfrau June s son Nicholas in particular is little than a plot device a straw character and the so called twist involving him is insulting to the reader s intelligence and emotions I can forgive Lee his problems with third person multiple POV It can be very difficult for some writers to handle but I can t forgive him for what he did with Nicholas Lee wasn t playing fair with the reader regarding that one And it isn t like we couldn t see it coming The foreshadowing regarding Nicholas fate was so heavy handed it was like Lee was hitting the reader over the head with the book saying Pay attention now We re foreshadowing over here We get it Mr Lee and subtlety is a virtueFor most of its 400 plus pages The Surrendered is anything but subtle In fact it s operatic in its Propaganda Performed underplayed not overwritten and melodramatic If only Lee could have exercised the same restraint in portraying his characters emotional livesI liked the darkness the bleakness in The Surrendered I liked the fact that the major characters were all damaged people even if I didn t like the fact that Lee doesn t develop them Hinterlands and Commodities uite as much as he should have What really turned me off the book are its deficiencies in craft and The Surrendered contains many deficiencies in craft There are the Untold Secrets of Planet Earth underdeveloped characters whose motivations are many times at best murky There s the straw man role of Nicholas one of the book s biggest failings there is an abundance of coincidence and contrivance and there s a scene with a passport at Immigration in Leonardo da Vinci airport in Rome that is completely Apocalyptic Cartography unbelievable I think some readers are going to ignore these deficiencies in craft however and allow themselves to be swept away in the melodrama of the characters lives instead So is that good or bad I don t know I can only answer for myself I found it impossible to empathize with or connect with any of the characters in the book Their hearts were too closed to life to love to humanity Maybe this is the effect Lee wanted to achieve If it is I respect it but it simply didn t work for me The Surrendered definitely has power especially that final page And I think there s a wonderful story in this book just clamoring to be told but somehow probably through the Doubts on Avicenna uncomfortable Uninvited use of the third person multiple POV at least for Lee Lee let it the story get away from him I realize Lee was aiming high and I certainly commend him for that And I don t want to sell Lee short He s an excellent writer Perhaps in time maybe with his next book he ll be comfortable with third person multiple POV But in this book the overall effect was melodramatic and messyAnd while this might not bother some readers there was way way too much fornication and adultery in this book for me It was tolerable CaddyGirls until Ames Tanner pulled Sylvie who he d not yet married out of the bathtub From then on I d had enough The rest was surfeit and really added nothing to the storyI did try very very hard to like The Surrendered and I felt bad when I couldn t Really Truly I did Will I read Lee s next book Probably yes I will Will I like it That remains to be seen255Recommended Yes with the caveat that the book isn t perfect I m recommending it because when it s good it s very very good and as I said despite being overwritten the book does have power Had Lee written the leaner story that was begging to be told this book would have been a masterpiece


10 thoughts on “The Surrendered

  1. says:

    I don't think I've ever tried harder to like a book than I did Chang rae Lee's latest The Surrendered But I think a book should pull us in to its world make us want no need to know what happens to its characters We shouldn't have to try to like it The Surrendered is a departure for Lee It is perhaps his most ambitious novel to date and for this I applaud him His previous three novels were all written in the first person and revolv

  2. says:

    The story in this novel is filled with flashbacks in the lives of two principal characters to earlier episodes during and following the Korean War when their lives intersected There's a third principal character who's background is also explored All three of them experienced tragic losses of loved ones or family members during their youth Then as if the flashbacks were not enough the reader is hit with a tragic incident

  3. says:

    45 stars Gorgeous storytelling Compelling characters Totally took me by surprise I can't wait to read of Lee's work

  4. says:

    Well Hard to say exactly what I thought about this book OK I thought many parts were beautifully written I also thought it was way too long yet the character development was way too thin For having so many pages the author didn't seem to know what to do with them Three stars is maybe a little harsh but the book wasn't worthy of four so without a half star option three it isThe book started out strongly you rea

  5. says:

    In “The Surrendered” Chang Rae Lee examines the ruinous effects of the Korean War on two survivors a child June who loses her entire family in the flight of civilian refugees southward down the Korean peninsula and an American soldier Hector Brennan caught in the same retreat “The journey was nearly over” the book begins; a curious start for a long novel that is about endurance than endings During this first chapter we’re introduc

  6. says:

    What happens to life after you survive the atrocities and randomness of war? Chang rae Lee examines the deep intricacies of this uestion and its ramifications in THE SURRENDURED portraying three survivors Korean War China Japan War w

  7. says:

    There are a few prized novels in memory that ransacked me raw and bare while simultaneously enveloping me whole and full This is a g

  8. says:

    War is hell a fact that is on display in nearly every war related piece of fiction that does not somehow involve John Wayne Less often explored is the toll that war takes on the civilians who are in the affected areas Still

  9. says:

    This being a book of historical fiction I thought I would get a little history than I did There is very little in this book about either the Korean War 1950 1953 or the Japanese takeover of Manchuria in the 1930s The main focus is the relationship between the missionary Ames Tanner his wife Sylvie Tanner an American GI Hector Brennanand an orphan June Hanset at a Korean orphanage in the aftermath of the Korean War There is another

  10. says:

    Gut wrenchingly sad and modestly joyful in alternating scenes A racing crescendo bounding toward and end but backward and forward in time I stretched the reading of this book out too far but still felt its grip as if I had never put it downIt's for people with a bleak outlook on life and think that there may not really be happiness outside of leaving this world It's for people who think that the world is com